BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION IN RETAIL
The retail industry is facing sweeping and unprecedented change. Customers’ expectations grow higher, economic pressures require them to do more with less, and each day new competitors appear. Responding to that rapid pace of change, retailers tell us, is both their biggest challenge and their biggest opportunity. Retailers who can adapt to change can make intelligent, fast decisions; ﬁnd new markets to exploit; and constantly improve their products, services, and operations. But retailers don’t have a switch to ﬂip that turns them into supersmart, super-adaptable businesses. Hoping to ﬁnd that switch, they often turn to technology, looking for ...view middle of the document...
• Make better decisions. By providing real-time insight into key business metrics and providing proactive alerts and notiﬁcations, BPA gives broader insight into essential business processes that are critical to your business (across both the store and headquarters) and provides real-time analytics that enable you to make better decisions faster. • Enhance operational excellence. Ensuring a continuous, high-quality customer experience requires support for missioncritical business processes with the utmost levels of reliability. BPA provides a rock-solid foundation that delivers the security, performance, scalability, and reliability demanded by the distributed, mission-critical systems of modern retail enterprises. Three key areas of retail business process innovation that can be transformed through business process automation are the “point of service,” “supply chain management,” and “multichannel integration” priority solution scenarios. These scenarios, or strategic areas of focus, are examined in more detail on the following pages.
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SCENARIO: SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
The majority of retail systems (67 percent) are home-grown legacy systems that are not equipped to enable efﬁcient collaboration with business partners. Increasingly, retailers with a closely connected supply chain (such as Wal-Mart) have a strategic competitive advantage against those that don’t. Supply chain management solutions from Microsoft deliver an integrated approach to merchandise management that allows retailers to deploy state-of-the-art technologies at a low total cost of ownership (TCO) to meet the increasingly demanding business needs of merchandise management and demand planning (using standards like UCCnet Global Data Synchronization and EDI/AS2).
“BizTalk Server is deﬁnitely a technology that will provide a lot of value as we integrate more functionality into the system.” —Ole Andersen, Manager, Strategic Innovation, London Drugs Effective, demand-driven replenishment; integration with legacy environments; full integration for multiple channels; agility to implement and integrate emerging technologies like RFID and GDS/UCCnet
London Drugs, a leading Canadian retail chain serving customers across Alberta and British Columbia, had historically performed virtually all of its mission-critical processes—human resources, general ledger, inventory, and merchandising—on legacy applications that were running on an AS/400 computer. The company was missing business opportunities because these applications were outdated, expensive to support, and didn’t offer the ﬂexibility necessary for creating a much-needed automated supply chain process. London Drugs implemented a new business process automation infrastructure based on best-of-breed enterprise resource planning and supply chain applications and real-time integration. London Drugs has now linked its enterprise systems...